From Horror Film Victim to Action Hero: Transform Materials to Empower

10:45 AM
12:00 PM
Potomac D


It’s tempting to try to scare teens into not using alcohol, marijuana or vapes. The possible consequences are indeed really scary. However, research shows that using fear appeals can inadvertently have the opposite effect on many teens (and adults!). Repeating “don’t do drugs” to young people has about the same effect as screaming “don’t go into the basement!” at the movie screen. This presentation provides specific examples and guidelines to increase effectiveness of your materials. By providing guidance, resources and skills, you can help your audience be the hero in their story. The presenter will share many examples from campaigns developed in their community for both students and their families covering alcohol, marijuana and vapes. Additionally, the presenter will share how these guidelines helped shape their most recent campaign, which was developed after a tragic shooting in the community, Highland Park, Illinois.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

1. Identify ways fear appeals may have unintended consequences.

2. List components of effective drug prevention materials.

3. Revise drug prevention materials to be more empowering and effective.


Barbara de Nekker
Executive Director
Community - The Anti-Drug (CTAD) Coalition